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Wednesday 30 July 2014

Boston Olive Oil Company

Bottle of Boston Vinegar

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Address: 262 Newbury Street
Date: Sept 2013
Website:  bostonoliveoilcompany.com

Most people are familiar with wine tastings, but the Boston Olive Oil Company offers oil and vinegar tastings.  As we were walking along Newbury Street we came upon their shop and could not resist the chance to give it a try.  We use oil and vinegar daily atop our salads and appreciate the noticeable differences in quality and taste.
The staff explained to us the scale of the olive oil and how it goes from 1 to10.  The oil is kept in stainless steel kegs from Italy called fustis. You get a little paper cup and turn the tap on one of the kegs to release some oil from inside.  You then decide if you want to dip some bread into it, or mix it with some vinegar, or just take a shot.  You can really notice a difference as you go up or down the scale.  The oil higher up the scale tended to have a grittier taste  We preferred something around the middle range.  What we were most interested in was the flavoured vinegars, and we sampled a few before deciding on a Pomegranate White Balsamic Vinegar for ourselves.
We left with our purchase and headed over to the Prudential Center for some ice cream and shopping.   We were looking for some gifts for family and friends but nothing seemed quite right.  Then we realized we were holding the perfect gift.  It worked as a Boston souvenir since the green bottle says Boston Olive Oil Company.  It was also healthy and from our earlier sampling experience, very tasty.  So we headed back and picked up a couple more bottles.
We know that the next time we are in Boston we will be having another taste.

Map of Our World
Boston Olive Oil Company

Post # 17

Sunday 20 July 2014

Toronto Zoo (Giant Pandas)

Panda Garden

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 2000 Meadowvale Road
Date: May 2013
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

Back in 1985 the Toronto Zoo had Qing Qing and Quan Quan for several months.  Now it is Da Mao and Er Shun who pay the zoo a visit.  We are sure to stop by and see them whenever we can, as we know that their time on loan from China is limited.  They are expected to remain at the zoo until 2018 and then move on to the Calgary Zoo, unless they breed successfully.  If that should happen then their departure date will be re-evaluated.

   Pandas spend most of their time either sleeping or eating massive amounts of bamboo.  On our visits they have usually been sitting back enjoying a good chew on a bamboo stick.  Despite being known for being cute and cuddly, pandas have big claws and sharp teeth that help them with this task.  We would expect that 10 out of 10 dentists don't recommend that you try this at home.

All the better to eat you with my dear.

The two pandas are kept separate unless it is during the mating period.  They spend a lot of time apart since that period is only for a few days each year.  Da Mao is the male panda and he usually spends his day in the larger outdoor area of the enclosure.  His name in english is 'Big Fur'.  Er Shun is the female and she has a smaller area on the other side of the exhibit.  Her name means 'Double Smoothness'.  Both pandas weighed roughly the same amount shortly after their arrival.  Da Mao was 98.8 kg and Er Shun had a slight advantage over him at 100 kg.
I'll have another helping of bamboo please. And keep em' coming.

  We have also been fortunate enough to see the pandas do something else besides eat.  Da Mao often takes a walk around his pond area to help him digest before his next snack.

I'm walkin'.  Yes indeed.

   During one visit Er Shun treated us to quite the acrobatic display as she did somersaults, commando moves and spent some time swatting at a big giant mirror.  We were lucky enough to have recorded this and you can see the highlights in the video below.

We hope that the pandas will be with us for quite some time and maybe if we are really lucky the Toronto panda population is on the rise.

You'll be back.

Click here to take a virtual tour and see our collection of Toronto Zoo animal photos.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo (Giant Pandas)

Post # 16

Thursday 10 July 2014

12 Apostles

12 Apostles in the sun.

Location: Victoria, Australia
Address: Great Ocean Road
Date: May 2012
Website: parkweb.vic.gov.au

  The Great Ocean Road runs along the southern part of Australia in the territory of Victoria.  One of the highlights of this drive is the 12 Apostles. These are tall rock formations that were caused by the giant ocean waves eroding the limestone coast.  They are called the 12 Apostles but when we visited there were only about 7 still standing, and we believe there may have never been more than 10.  We were informed that another one had fallen just the year before.

The southern Australia coastline.

  As you stand on the coast and face south you really feel the awesome power and beauty of nature.  With the wind blowing in our faces and the waves crashing against the rocks we really felt like we were at the edge of the world.  Since at this point we were just west of Tasmania, there was truly nothing but ocean between us and Antarctica.  Amidst all of this the Apostles stand there just off the coast, braving the elements.

  The wind began to pick up and darker clouds were moving in.  We were still about a 3 hour drive from our hotel in Melbourne so our Aussie family tour guides wisely decided it was time for us to go.

Looking back at Australia

Map of Our World
12 Apostles

Post # 15